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Family Assessment Response. Welcome & Introduction. Introduce yourself to the group: Name Work location Work title What is it about FAR that brought you to this work? What is your biggest worry about moving forward?. THIS WEEK. Session I: Overview of FAR

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welcome introduction
Welcome & Introduction

Introduce yourself to the group:

  • Name
  • Work location
  • Work title
  • What is it about FAR that brought you to this work?
  • What is your biggest worry about moving forward?
this week
  • Session I: Overview of FAR
  • Session II: Casework Practice Model
  • Session III: Implementing the Change Process
  • Session IV: Skill Building

SW107-01 Knows and understands the procedural differences between family investigations and voluntary services

learning objectives
  • Understand the definition and procedures of FAR
  • Know the similarities and differences between FAR and Investigations
  • Gain knowledge on the assumptions, goals, and values of FAR
  • Understand how FAR will benefit families
far is a cps response
FAR is a CPS Response







what is far
What is FAR?

FAR is an alternative to the traditional Child Protective Services investigation

A perpetrator is not identified and a finding of child abuse and neglect is not made

Risk and safety assessments are completed and assessing child safety is the focus

Services are voluntary and of a short duration – 45 days unless the family agrees to extend the time – 90 days max

what is far1
What is FAR?

Focuses less on investigative fact finding and more on assessing and ensuring child safety,

Seeks safety through family engagement and collaborative partnerships, and

Allows us to provide services without formal determination of abuse or neglect.

ca s goals for far
CA’s Goals for FAR
  • More children stay safely at home
  • Provide early intervention
  • Child safety through partnering and assessing
  • Increase scope of service delivery
  • Improve family-centered practice and integration of SBC
  • Increase resource identification
commonalities of investigations far
Commonalities of Investigations & FAR
  • Both are needed responses to Child Abuse and Neglect Reports
  • Both aim to achieve the three major child welfare outcomes: child safety, promotion of permanency and attunement of child well-being
  • Both maintain CA’s authority to make decisions about child removal
  • Both utilize SBC as the case management model to improve outcomes
implementation hopes
Implementation Hopes
  • Serving the right families at the right time
  • More community involvement
  • Getting everyone on board to move practice forward
  • Organizing information through SBC/Reinforcing the Practice Model
  • Comprehensive assessment begins at referral
  • Learning opportunities for new workers and all staff across the Child Welfare spectrum
ca history to far
CA History to FAR
  • In early 2011, discussions began on how a differential response model might help Washington families
  • Title IV-E Waiver was approved on 9/28/12
  • In March 2012, Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 6555 was signed into law
rcw 26 44 260 26 44 270 family assessment response
RCW 26.44.260 & 26.44.270: Family Assessment Response

Signed into law after the 2012 legislative session – ESSB 6555 (included amendments to RCW 26.44.030)

Requires Children’s Administration to implement a differential response model

Screened-in reports of abuse and neglect that do not allege a child is in danger will be assigned to an alternative CPS pathway: the Family Assessment Response (FAR)

Serious physical abuse and sexual abuse intakes will continue to be assigned for CPS investigation

why implement far1
Why Implement FAR?

Increasingly, concerned citizens and organizations are realizing that the best way to prevent child abuse is to help parents develop the skills and identify the resources they need to understand and meet their children's needs and protect them from harm

why implement far2
Why ImplementFAR?

According to National Study of Child Protective Services

Systems and Reform Efforts (2003), 20 states identified one

of 3 purposes as reason for DR system:

  • child safety (55%)
  • family preservation or strengthening (45%)
  • prevention of CA/N (20%)
ohio study
Ohio Study


Family surveys

Follow-up telephone calls with families and workers

Caseworker surveys

General agency surveys

Community surveys

Document review

Cost data

Site visits

family characteristics
Family Characteristics*

* All findings presented come from the Ohio Alternative Response Evaluation: Final Report, prepared by the Institute of Applied Research, released in May 2010.

  • High rates of unemployment, female-headed families, lower educational achievement were each associated with low income.
  • Instability in housing was also found.
  • Low-income families with these characteristics typically experience problems with:
    • unaffordable and unstable housing
    • utility payments, lack of furniture and appliances
    • unreliable transportation
    • occasionally lack of sufficient food and clothing
  • About half of AR appropriate families had previous accepted reports of child maltreatment and one in every ten had a child placed in the past. A substantial portion were chronic CPS families.
  • Reports of neglect most common
other important findings
Other Important Findings
  • Safety did NOT reduce
  • Families reported more involvement in decision-making
  • More use of concrete services
  • Families reported services “really helped”
  • Higher family satisfaction with worker
  • More worker visits and contact with families and providers
  • LESS subsequent reports
  • LESS out of home placements and removals
  • Cost- slightly more expensive, but potential to reduce long-term costs
  • Higher job satisfaction for workers
impact on traditional response in missouri
Impact on Traditional Response in Missouri

Findings include:

More cooperation and engagement between law enforcement and Children Services staff

Charges were made sooner against sexual abuse perpetrators indicating that the intensive investigative work up front by workers was helpful to law enforcement


More findings:

  • Implementing a pathway for the low to moderate risk cases (alternative response), allowed more time to be spent on the severe cases in a traditional response
  • More successful prosecutions were made against perpetrators for sexual crimes against children, indicating more thorough investigations
  • According to a study by Loman (2005) Differential Response Improves Traditional Investigations: Criminal Arrests for Severe Physical and Sexual Abuse. Institute of Applied Research.
national perspective of far
National Perspectiveof FAR
  • The circumstances and needs of families differ and so should the response
  • The majority of reports do not need an investigatory approach or court-ordered interventions
  • Absent an investigation:
    • child safety will not be jeopardized
    • services can be in place more quickly
    • families will be more motivated to use services
nationally adopted principles of dr
Nationally Adopted Principles of DR
  • The primary goal of FAR is child safety
  • Most families want to address threats to child safety
  • Most families can be partners in achieving child safety
  • Families are more than the presenting concerns
  • Family protective factors can assist in keeping children safe
  • Families are helped through connections with community services and resources
ca s guiding principles of far
CA’s Guiding Principles of FAR
  • Low to moderate risk neglect cases are best served through planning that includes parents as partners.
  • Families want safety for their children.
  • Families can meet their children's needs with supports and resources.
  • Families are better able to care for their children when connections to communities are developed and strengthened.
guiding principles
…Guiding Principles
  • Communities want children to be safe and cared for.
  • Supports and enhances the agency's vision of:

- Child safety

- CA’s Practice Model: SBC

- Family Engagement

- Assessment of needs and strengths

- Delivery of concrete/supportive services

- Closely connected and aligned with the implementation of evidence based practices to provide families and children with services that have shown to be successful.

current flow from intake to cps
Current Flow from Intake to CPS


Does allegation meet legal definition of abuse and neglect?

Meets legal definition –

Screens In



Doesn’t meet legal definition- Screens Out

CPS Investigation

the two pathways investigative and far
The Two Pathways(Investigative and FAR)


Does allegation meet legal definition of abuse and neglect?

Meets legal definition –

Screens In

Pathway determined by the Screening Assessment Tool used by Intake



CPS Investigative Pathway

FAR Pathway

Doesn’t meet legal definition- Screens Out

intakes to the family assessment response pathway
Intakes to the Family Assessment Response Pathway

Low to moderate allegations of physical abuse and neglect


Intakes to the CPS Investigative Pathway

The following allegations will be assigned to the Investigative pathway:

  • Serious physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse or exploitation
  • Serious, high risk neglect when the child’s living situation is immediately dangerous or unhealthy or the child’s condition indicates a need for an immediate response
can a far case move to investigations
Can a FAR Case Move to Investigations?
  • If the family refuses the initial family assessment, the case will be transferred to the investigative pathway
  • If child safety concerns are identified while receiving FAR services, the caseworker will:
    • First try to develop a safety plan with the family to keep the child safe at home
    • Transfer the case to the investigative pathway if a safety plan cannot keep the child safe at home.
community engagement1
Community Engagement

The success of FAR depends on community involvement

Communities want their families and children to be safe

Families are better able to care for their children when they have strong connections to their community

Offices will work to develop Community Resource Teams

community resource team
Community Resource Team

Non-traditional community members


School staff

Medical providers

Private, non-profit agencies

County and business leaders

Veteran parents

six principles of partnership
Six Principles of Partnership

Everyone desires respect

Everyone needs to be heard (and understood)

Everyone has strengths

Judgments can wait

Partners share power

Partnership is a process


Families of color are disproportionately reported to child welfare systems

FAR will reduce disproportionality through screening decisions, engagement, asessment, and increased services to all families

SDM Intake

Addressing disproportionality is part of the Quality Assurance plan

involvement of washington state tribes
Involvement of Washington State Tribes

CA consulted with Tribes as we developed the FAR pathway

CA will continue to partner with Tribes on FAR cases involving tribal children

CA will collaborate with each Tribe to determine who takes the lead in FAR cases, when a child belongs to more than one Tribe

“Any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts”

Arnold Bennett

short term benefits of far
Short-Term Benefits of FAR

Improved relationships between family and CA social worker

Family and community engagement in services

Families take immediate steps to address child safety

intermediate benefits of far
Intermediate Benefits of FAR

Parents have improved understanding of issues that contributed to safety and neglect concerns

Family increases knowledge and use of community supports to begin long-term life skills and behavioral changes

long term benefits of far
Long-Term Benefits of FAR

More children stay safely at home (reduce out-of-home placements)

Safely prevent repeat maltreatment

Safely reduce repeat referrals

Improved child and family well-being

Parent and community responsibility will be increased for child safety

intake and initial screening
Intake and Initial Screening
  • Intake sufficiency screen
  • Intake meets the definition CA/N
  • CPS response pathway decision tree
  • Criteria met for CPS FAR pathway
initial contact
Initial Contact
  • Initializing engagement and assessment
  • Contact source of referral
  • Case preparation
  • Contact parents/caregivers to schedule meeting/visit
initial visit and assessment
Initial Visit and Assessment
  • Present danger assessment
  • Explanation of FAR pathway
  • FAR agreement with family
  • FAR Family Assessment
  • Safety Assessment
  • SDM
disclosure of far involvement
Disclosure of FAR Involvement

RCW 26.44.031 provides:

No unfounded, screened-out, or inconclusive report or information about a family's participation or nonparticipation in the family assessment response may be disclosed to a child-placing agency, private adoption agency, or any other provider licensed under chapter 74.15 RCW without the consent of the individual who is the subject of the report or family assessment, unless:

(a) The individual seeks to become a licensed foster parent or adoptive parent; or

(b) The individual is the parent or legal custodian of a child being served by one of the agencies referenced in this subsection.

identifying needs resources and services
Identifying Needs, Resources, and Services
  • Co-develop case plan
  • Connect family with community, services, and other resources
  • Implement and monitor the plan
  • Case closure
far timeframes
FAR Timeframes
  • Initial face-to-face contact
  • Safety assessment
  • FAR family assessment and case plan
  • Case management and closure
what if
What if…..?
  • Family does not agree to FAR
  • Family refuses to participate in identified services
  • A new C/AN report is received
  • Safety plan is not managing safety threats
should i close the case
Should I close the case?
  • Have all safety concerns been addressed?
  • Has their been documented progress in meeting case plan objectives?
  • Is the family connected to community resources or support networks?
  • Have you discussed what the family will do if a similar situation arises again in the future?
  • Have you discussed case closure with the family?
  • Have you discussed case closure with your supervisor?
    • If you answered yes to all of the above, it is time to close
far implementation timeline
FAR Implementation Timeline
  • Begin Office Readiness Assessments(February 2013) - Completed
  • Choose Early Implementation sites (May 2013) – Sites chosen are Aberdeen, Lynnwood, and 2 zip codes in Spokane
  • Begin using FAR in initial implementation offices (January 2014)
  • Roll out FAR in offices as they become ready and as funding allows (July 2014 - June 2016)
who you gonna call
Who You Gonna Call?

Children’s Administration Headquarters Leads:

Jeanne McShane: 360-902-7858

Dawn Cooper: 360-902-8469

Regional Leads:

R1 - Julie Ellis: 509-363-3495

R2 - Kara Rozeboom: 425-673-3113

R3 - Anita Teeter: 360-725-6807